Monday 25 November 2013

Reviving the great and the good

Last week’s announcement of the membership of the board of the Cardiff city region attracted a lot of attention.  In comparison, the other announcement, made at the same time, of the membership of the Swansea Bay city region was virtually ignored by the media.  It’s another sign of how Cardiff-centric Welsh politicians and media have become – aping the failings of the UK, of which so many have been critical in the past.
My view is coloured of course by the fact that I now, apparently, live in something called a city region, despite being in a very rural spot miles away from, and having little in common with, the city of Swansea.  And if it feels like that in the north of Carmarthenshire, I wonder how people in Angle or Fishguard feel about it.
Still, that’s all an aside really.  What is of interest for the purposes of this post is who the members are, and how they were appointed.  Remember Labour’s “bonfire of the quangos”?  Well, here they are setting up two brand new quangos all of whose members are appointed at the whim of the Minister, and only a minority of whom – in both cases – actually hold any elected post.  It seems that 'the great and the good' of Wales never went away at all.
In theory, their powers are limited at present; but I wonder for how long that will be the case.  Centralising politicians have something of a penchant for preferring direct rule by their nominees over the vagaries of democracy.  And in this case, much of the commentariat seems to be supporting them.
There is nothing wrong with engaging experts to advise and assist; experience gained outside politics is often - perhaps even invariably - more valuable than experience gained within politics.  That is however the reverse of a situation where ‘experts’ oversee and direct the elected representatives, which is what seems to be developing here.

1 comment:

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

I don't recall anyone asking me to be a member? Was there an advert in the Tivy-Side asking the denizens of Newcastle Emlyn(46 miles from Swansea Castle) to put their names forward?